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Mountain bike or road bike?


Q. I need a new bicycle but I don’t know if I should get a mountain bike or a road bike. What are the pros and cons of each type?
— Confused Carl

A. Dear Confused Carl, good question. I’d say the best way to think of it is this: The mountain bike is a SUV and the road bike is a sports car. Which type of bike is best for you depends mostly on where you plan on riding.

Without knowing your answer, my first instinct is to tell you to get a mountain bike. The reason: durability and versatility. Mountain bikes are very durable because they’re designed to handle rough off-road conditions. They have heavy duty gears and parts, a stronger frame (like the bike’s skeleton), and some even have cushy shock absorbing suspensions for smoothing out the bumps. But don’t let the name “mountain” fool you—whether you’re riding on trails or bouncing off curbs around your neighborhood, this versatile type of bike will stand up to all sorts of riding.

On the other hand, road bikes are usually lighter weight with thin frames and skinny tires. They are really fast and agile but definitely not well suited for rough roads. If you have a need for speed, get a road bike. If you wanna ride a little bit of everywhere, buy a mountain bike.

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16 Comments on Mountain bike or road bike?

  1. Person on a bike race team. // December 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm // Reply

    If you are serious about riding and can afford it, get both. Then you always have the right bike.

  2. You can go fast on a mountain bike because of all of the gears.

  3. DecayingTent // July 26, 2015 at 7:31 pm // Reply

    I would recommend a hybrid bike, it will allow you to ride over most terrain.

  4. Jake the snake // June 18, 2015 at 10:54 pm // Reply

    actually a Cyclo Cross bike is a great alternative, it can go as fast as a road bike, and with wiser than road tires can handle many trails, gravel roads etc, it camp. Handle all but the technical trails.

    BTW I gave all 3 types

  5. i had a mt bike. i had 2 sets of tires. one knobby and one smoother and faster. great for any type ofriding

  6. PhilosoPunk // June 12, 2015 at 8:40 pm // Reply

    get a hybrid bike which is a mixture of both.

  7. I think I’d get a mountain bike, just because their more durable.

  8. Road bikes are AWESOME!

  9. I would really get a road bike

  10. @ the moment i got a DJ kona which i converted to a street bike. i choose the mountain bike because i have to go pretty far to get into town with my friends, but i changed parts on it because i do street tricks

    if you like BMX but you have 2 do a bit of traveling as well, i suggest you either get a dirtjump/sreet bike or a 24″
    but if you have no intentions of doing tricks i say get trek mountain bike

  11. I ride “mountain” with knobby tires on the road. people in far inferior bikes pass me all-the-time, but I like the sure-footedness (especially in rain)of my arrangement.

    The frame-size (proportion) of cruiser/mountain bikes is different; a 17″ mountain will feel bigger than a 17″ cruiser. The seat on a cruiser is intended to be set further from the top (crotch) bar.

    I agree with the Answer man.

  12. Mountain bike BMXer // August 29, 2009 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    I ride a Specialized RockHopper, ive never taken it on the trails and i don’t plan to! i usually just ride it in my neighborhood and off my ramp. What should i do? stick with my Mountain bike or geat a BMX bike?

  13. i prefer mountain bikes, but thats just me

  14. You could get a road bike and a Mt. bike that way you can do both off road and on road riding.

  15. If you want to go fast on the roads, but still want to be able to go on gravel and dirt trails a little, get a hybrid bike like the Muirwoods 29er.

  16. i would use a cross bike u can is is a cross from a street and mountain bike

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